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Michael Phelps makes record fifth Olympics; Colorado’s Missy Franklin heading to Rio

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OMAHA, Neb. -- He's already the most decorated Olympian of all-time, but Michael Phelps will be in the hunt for more medals come August after booking his place at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games on Wednesday.

And so will Colorado's Missy Franklin.

Phelps, who has 22 Olympic medals to his name, clocked a time of 1 minute, 54.84 seconds to take first place in the final of the 200 meter butterfly at the U.S. swimming trials.

In doing so, Phelps became the first man to make a fifth U.S. Olympic swimming team.

Although he announced his retirement after the 2012 Games in London, the 18-time gold medal winner announced he would be returning to the pool in 2014.

But another Olympic appearance seemed a long way off after he was arrested on a DUI charge and suspended by U.S. Swimming shortly after.

"With everything that's happened, being able to come back -- this was probably harder than any swim I've had in my life," Phelps said in comments carried by the AFP news agency.

"I didn't feel good the first two (qualifying) swims. But getting on the team was the most important thing, and that's the only thing I had to do tonight," he added.

The "Baltimore Bullet" edged out Tom Shields on his way to victory Wednesday and can be sure of stiff competition in Rio from the likes of South Africa's Chad le Clos and Hungary's Laszlo Cseh.

Yet Phelps can take solace from the fact that he still holds the record for the 200-meter butterfly event which he set in 2009 in Rome.

Phelps, who turns 31 on Thursday, is also hoping to qualify for the 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley in Rio at the U.S. trials.

Franklin, who grew up in Centennial and graduated from Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, also found some redemption Wednesday.

One night after struggling to finish seventh in the 100 backstroke, which she won four years ago in London, Franklin finished second in the 200 freestyle to superstar Katie Ledecky to secure a place on the Olympic team.

"(Tuesday) night was really tough and coming back from that, I was telling myself, 'I'm not done fighting. I'm not done with believing in myself,'" Franklin said. "That's probably the most proud race I've ever swam in my entire career, coming back from such a loss last night and telling myself that I still have it in me to do whatever I believe I can do."


Franklin was a breakout star at the 2012 London Games, winning four gold medals and one bronze medal. She attended the University of California at Berkeley for two years before turning pro last year.

Franklin will swim in the 200 backstroke final on Saturday, an event in which she remains the world record holder. On Thursday, she will swim in the 100 freestyle preliminaries and semifinals.